robson-on-politics May 1
Four weeks leave: over 1,000 postcards in support
Postcards to support the bill are out in communities and worksites and are flooding back. By Monday we had received 43 from Levin, 17 from Waitara and over 1,000 from the rest of the country. New Zealand Women's Weekly ran a two page article and in interviews found majority support for the bill. A poster is being prepared - to order one just ask me. Keep putting pressure on Labour Cabinet ministers and we'll soon add four weeks leave to list of our achievements for Kiwis. See: http://www.progressive.org.nz/campaign/four-weeks-leave.htm
Progressive budget announcements
On May 15 the Labour-Progressive budget will include step by step implementation of the policies, agreed with Labour, that are at the core of the Progressives. Already announced are $85m for industry training, more teachers, a major boost for the probation service, an embassy in Warsaw, and the establishment of the Families Commission. Our six press releases in the last week are at: http://www.progressive.org.nz
14 years of progressive presence in the House
Today marks the 14th anniversary of a progressive left presence in Parliament. On May 1, 1989, Jim Anderton and I broke away from the Labour Party because we wanted to be part of an independent progressive party which put full employment for New Zealanders first. We have made much more progress than we would have dreamed possible at the outset of our venture. We successfully fought to turn back the New Right tide of 1984-1999, helped usher in a more democratic and representative electoral system and ever since 1999 we have been inside government, getting good things done for people, and keeping Labour on a progressive course.
Background for younger readers
Jim Anderton and Matt Robson resigned from Labour on May 1, 1989, amid rising unemployment, massive state asset sales and failed economic policies pursued by Roger Douglas, Richard Prebble and associates. The unemployment rate was 7.1% and rising. Jim Anderton became the first leader of the NewLabour Party and Matt Robson was a founding member and later President. The Progressive party was formed to continue the NLP's full employment objectives. See: http://www.progressive.org.nz/media/articles/ar20030213-ja-what-is-progressive-listener.htm
Safer communities, Otago style
In Dunedin I discussed Restorative Justice progress with community groups and visited Moana House. Residents are either awaiting sentencing, have been sentenced, or have been released from prison to undertake rehabilitation programmes with a strong restorative emphasis. The co-ordinator, Claire, and her team are community heroes. Their work turns around the lives of so many young people. As part of my visit I was asked to accompany a resident who was being sentenced for charges that included grievous bodily harm and burglary. Through the programmes he was facing up to the causes of his offending and the harm he had caused his victims.
Under the Sentencing Act the judge was able to take account of the restorative processes at Moana House and note the progress that he was making. The result: a deferred prison sentence on the basis that he continue with his programmes and that the court be updated on progress. The community will be safer because Moana House is getting this young man back on the rails. See: http://www.progressive.org.nz/policy/policy-justice.htm
Jobs key to secure, smart future
Employment is rising and we celebrate a breakthrough: fewer than 100,000 people are on the unemployment benefit, for the first time in fourteen years. Jobs are the Progressive's major priority. See: http://www.progressive.org.nz/media/releases/pr20030416-mr-jobs-key.htm
Of course kids want to go to Public Hospital #14
My four year old went to Starship. Silly me, I was happy his hospital experience was one great adventure, instead of scaring the living daylights out of him. He had the time of his life when the surgeon piggy-backed him into the surgery and put him on the Thomas the Tank Engine trolley. The Board clearly knows better: it should have been his first great trauma: "Toughen up kid, this is the real world." I'll be sure to support the return of these jolly and responsible people.